Major depression affects roughly one in 15 Americans. Yet this common mental disorder is frequently misunderstood. Because we value traits like happiness and energy, depression is sometimes incorrectly viewed as sadness, laziness, or even selfishness—even by those who may be suffering from it.
That’s too bad, because today’s treatments for depression are more effective and precisely targeted than ever.
Part One: Are you “down in the dumps” for weeks at a time?
Over a two-week period, have you felt “down” or uninterested in your usual activities—for most of the time, on most days?
If you can honestly answer no to this question, then you probably won’t be diagnosed with major depression. But you should know that having some symptoms of major depression may be a sign of disorders that are also serious and treatable. See Part Three for more info.
Part Two: Do you have any four of these symptoms?
Take a look through the list of symptoms below:
- Trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
- Feeling mentally or physically restless and agitated—or, on the flip side, mentally or physically sluggish
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Being tired or feeling like you have no energy
- Weight loss or gain
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide
Part Three: What if it’s not major depression, but you still feel bad?
If you have some of the symptoms above, but not enough for a diagnosis of major depression, you may have another treatable form of depression, such as:
Whatever your symptoms of mind or mood, suffering in silence doesn’t help. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They’ll have solutions and strategies that can get you feeling like yourself again.